Sniper Elite V2 Review

 

For a long stretch of video game history, World War II games were the beaten horse of the medium, battered into submission by developers that just couldn’t seem to stop making them. Eventually, market saturation took its toll, and gamers abandoned the Greatest Generation out of familiarity and boredom.

Now that some time has passed, it’s actually strangely satisfying to return to 1945 with Sniper Elite V2, a relentlessly traditional game that even starts with a grainy, black-and-white map of Europe and a inky tide spreading out over it, signifying the advance of Hitler’s forces.

Except by 1945, all that ink is blotted up, and the remains of the Wehrmacht are engaged in a desperate defense of Berlin itself. Enter OSS sniper Karl Fairburne, a blandly handsome hero with a noir growl and a commando uniform that wouldn’t look out of place on a windy day in modern San Francisco.

Sniper Elite V2: PC
Platforms: PC (reviewed), Playstation 3, X-box 360
Developer: Rebellion Developments
Publisher: Rebellion Developments, 505 Games
Released: May 1st, 2012
MSRP: $49.99

Fairburne is in Berlin to keep Germany’s rocket scientists — brain-trust of the V2 program — out of Soviet hands. He goes about this business with ruthless efficiency. Sniper Elite barely concerns itself with plot or character, confining what little narrative there is to matter-of-fact mission briefings.

Developers Rebellion Developments have a strong visual sense; even the main menu is impressive, with its various options super-imposed onto a wall in the middle of a freeze-framed firefight. This talent extends to the environments, which recreate the last throes of the Third Reich in striking detail. Architectural triumphs like cathedrals, cavernous department stores, and the Brandenburg Gate mix with piles of rubble and bombed-out husks. Fans of Enemy At the Gates will find themselves right at home. One mission, set in the gloom of a subterranean V2 factory, is particularly well-designed.

Due to the nature of Fairburne’s mission, players will find themselves fighting both Nazi and Soviet soldiers; Rebellion pulls off a neat trick by introducing both of America’s traditional bogeymen as enemies. Unfortunately, the difference between the two is expressed mostly by their listless dialogue. Ever since Wolfenstein, cheesy, foreign-language phrases have been a staple of World War II games, and Sniper Elite blunders directly into the trap. Expect to hear phrases like “We’ll find you!” and “Keep looking” repeated ad nauseam by voice actors who sound like they’d rather by napping. That said, the German word for sniper, “Scharfschutzer,” is amusing in any context.

 

These vocal cues can also inspire dread. Sniper Elite is mostly a stealth-based game, and the game’s preternaturally sharp-eyed enemies exclaim in German or Russian when you’re spotted. To succeed, players will want to creep around in third-person view, staying behind cover and out of sight. The cover system is adequate, but just — expect difficulty moving around corners and from one hiding spot to another. In some sections, you’ll have little choice but to engage an enemy force that already knows your location; in others, it can be extremely hard to tell whether stealth or assault is the best course of action — a frustrating quandary.

Fairburne is armed with a succession of rifles: the American Springfield M1903, the Russian Moisin-Nagant, and the German Gewehr 43, which provide a simple, elegant progression. He also begins each mission with a Thompson submachine gun, and can pick up Russian PPSh-41′s and German MP-40′s, although ammunition for all three is in chronically short supply.

More useful is the silenced Welrod pistol, deadly and stealthy from close range. Fairburne can also deploy land mines and tripwire grenades to cover his escape routes and defend his vantage points. Stringing tripwires is simple but fun, and the game rewards such careful planning.

Enemies in Sniper Elite are extremely sensitive to noise, and will coming running to investigate the sound of your footsteps, even in the midst of an artillery bombardment. Sound can also work in the player’s favor, however. Fairburne can throw rocks to lure or distract enemies, and during certain sequences, an indicator appears on screen to indicate that environmental noises — industrial machinery, explosions, sirens — will cover the sound of your sniper shots. Internalizing the rhythm of these noises and picking off sentries accordingly is a fun a challenge, and these sequences are among the game’s best.

As the title makes obvious, sniping is the meat of the gameplay, and the camera switches to a first-person view when you bring up your scope. Realistic ballistics is one of the game’s big selling points, and I opted for “Sniper Elite” difficulty from the outset, which promised realism. Little did I know I was choosing between ballistics and a number of gameplay features only available on lower difficulty levels.

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5 Comments on Sniper Elite V2 Review

Critique

On May 13, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I don’t understand from this review how you can claim that this game has any realistic sniping whatsoever. The only good thing about this game is the graphics.

This game came out this year, and having an AI this bad kills the mood right away. The AI is so bad, I don’t quite think the reviewer actually played through most of the game.

There is one section of a level where you have to take out a sniper team. If you are playing this game on Elite, then you won’t be going against snipers; you’ll be going against bots with an aim that is only supposed to kill you after 2 hits (they don’t get headshots, but they wont graze you so you can survive a bit longer).

What’s worse is the level design in this game is so very bad, that it makes it impossible in some situations to actually get past certain points without getting infront of enemies. THIS IS NOT A Realistic Situation. A sniper will never run and gun people. This is not call of duty.

Back to the Sniper team example, a lot of the times you will die because 2 different snipers are located in such a way that they will both hit you and kill you (even if you are sprinting from cover to cover) This is horrid.

The game’s AI aimbot system that is implemented in this game is designed to artifically make the game last longer. Here’s another example where I think they really let the AI in the game down. If you as a player make a noise, even if there is a noise around and what not, “OH MY GOD IT’S A SNIPER. GET HIM!”.

First of all, I would understand that the AI figures out I’m a sniper if I shot my sniper at someone, but walking and making noise just as much as the AI all of a sudden gives me away as a sniper? Do my shoes hit the ground in a way that gives me off as a sniper? Why am I not just “Someone there?” or “I heard something”? Why Am I always assumed to be a sniper? “Oh we’re going to find you, sniper” ” How the hell do you even know I’m a sniper?” This killed the immersion right away.

Game was uninstalled. Garbage. If you played the demo, trust me, you really don’t want to play more than that.

Horrible game design, Horrible maps, Horrible music, Horrible historical accuracy, Horrible story, Horrible gameplay, Ok graphics

fahim

On May 21, 2012 at 12:01 am

played one level trading it in soon its bad

Baker

On May 23, 2012 at 10:32 pm

I played the demo and I wanted to play more….

Maybe if I bought it used, though, since it only got a 6/10.

Sniping mechanic was really fun to use, even if the controls were clunky and the AI sucked.

Rob

On June 6, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Game is terrible. No online multiplayer. Co-op campaign, yes. Head shots are cool and all but your better off saving the 50$ in your wallet. This game gets a 3 out of 10 stars in my opinion. Any legit player that games often will beat this game in an hour, its waaaaaaay too short and simple. Highly disappointed with “505 Games”. Take my word, this game is not with it. When your’re done I promise you will be saying to yourself, “that’s it?!”.

Arek

On July 13, 2014 at 4:52 am

i played this and older sniper elite and old is better
only thing what is good in v2 is just graphic because game is mostly linear (while in old sniper elite you can chose way and move free around map) only few maps give more ways to objective

better get old sniper elite this have only graphic